A Matter of Life and Death. Seventeenth-Century Funerary Culture and the Construction of a Nassau-Dietz Identity
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This thesis examines how the Frisian Nassau-Dietz family constructed a dynastic identity in its seventeenth-century funerary culture. The funerals of four family members (Ernst Casimir, Hendrik Casimir, Sophia Hedwig, and Willem Frederik) are taken into account. In four chapters dealing with last wills, correspondence, orders of the funeral processions, and commemorative poems it is investigated what the main identity markers of the Nassau-Dietz family were. The focus is on references to and claims of titles and political functions, references to connections to other European dynasties, to (events and persons from) the dynasty’s history, and to certain character traits. The thesis demonstrates how the Nassau-Dietz family presented itself as an exemplary cadet branch of the Nassau dynasty, but simultaneously distinguished itself by its commitment to the province of Friesland. Moreover, the thesis emphasises that the identity was flexible and the result of an interaction between the family itself and ‘coshapers’ such as other European dynasties, authors, and subjects.
Faculteit der Letteren